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Component-based development (CDB) promises to reduce complexity and cost of software development and maintenance through reuse. For CBD to be successful, a vibrant market for commercial business components is essential. One of the key requirements of an active market for business components is an effective scheme for classifying and describing them at various levels of detail, as well as a corresponding repository for storing and retrieving these components. Such a scheme needs to support various constituents such as business users, managers, and application assemblers. The scheme and repository should help users and managers to select components that match their requirements and aid application assemblers in identifying components most compatible with their deployment environment (such as the platform) and system inputs (such as data types). Drawing from the concepts of group technology and software reuse paradigm, this paper proposes a scheme for classifying and describing business components and the design of a knowledge-based repository for their storage and retrieval. The proposed scheme is implemented in a prototype repository. The effectiveness of the prototype and the underlying classification and coding scheme is assessed empirically through controlled experiments. Results support the assertion that the scheme is effective in enhancing the users' and analysts' ability to find the needed business components.